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Kiribati Geography

    Location: Oceania, group of islands in the Pacific Ocean, straddling the equator, about one-half of the way from Hawaii to Australia; note—on 1 January 1995, Kiribati unilaterally moved the International Date Line from the middle of the country to include its easternmost islands and make it the same day throughout the country

    Geographic coordinates: 1 25 N, 173 00 E

    Map references: Oceania

    Area:
    total: 717 sq km
    land: 717 sq km
    water: 0 sq km
    note: includes three island groups—Gilbert Islands, Line Islands, Phoenix Islands

    Area—comparative: four times the size of Washington, DC

    Land boundaries: 0 km

    Coastline: 1,143 km

    Maritime claims:
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    territorial sea: 12 nm

    Climate: tropical; marine, hot and humid, moderated by trade winds

    Terrain: mostly low-lying coral atolls surrounded by extensive reefs

    Elevation extremes:
    lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
    highest point: unnamed location on Banaba 81 m

    Natural resources: phosphate (production discontinued in 1979)

    Land use:
    arable land: NA%
    permanent crops: 51%
    permanent pastures: NA%
    forests and woodland: 3%
    other: 46% (1993 est.)

    Irrigated land: NA sq km

    Natural hazards: typhoons can occur any time, but usually November to March; occasional tornadoes

    Environment—current issues: heavy pollution in lagoon of south Tarawa atoll due to heavy migration mixed with traditional practices such as lagoon latrines and open-pit dumping; ground water at risk

    Environment—international agreements:
    party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertication, Endangered Species, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection
    signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

    Geography—note: 20 of the 33 islands are inhabited; Banaba (Ocean Island) in Kiribati is one of the three great phosphate rock islands in the Pacific Ocean—the others are Makatea in French Polynesia and Nauru

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Revised 1-Mar-99
Copyright © 1999 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)